Over the past few years, US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations have included some in relation to certain US listed companies owned and operated in China.
As a normal part of such investigations, the SEC sought information and documents from the China based audit firms engaged by these companies. China laws, and directives from China regulators, restrict or prohibit the direct production of Chinese company information by auditors to foreign regulators conducting investigations or inspections.
However, the SEC does not accept that these legal impediments release by the China audit firms of their US legal and regulatory obligations to directly produce the information and documents requested. Accordingly, the firms found themselves stuck in the middle of a conflict of laws and regulatory expectations. Ultimately, the SEC issued administrative proceedings in the US against the relevant China audit firms and a trial was held in July 2013. PwC is one of the firms involved in the proceeding, and will provide an overview of the legal issues, as well as the business and regulatory relationship issues being encountered.
Chris Harford, General Counsel for PwC China/Hong Kong, will describe the history of dealings with the SEC and the legal issues at play in the US administrative proceeding.
Raymund Chao, Assurance Leader for PwC China/Hong Kong and Asia Pacific, will talk about the practical and commercial challenges of having to deal with conflicting laws and differing views of regulators in a world where the amount of cross-border activity is ever increasing.